==========Just watching this video of super flexibility, it is something that has never been seen in Martial Arts before. Nobody, nobody has done something like what is being done here. The discipline, the technology, the time, and dedication necessary to prepare the body to be capable of something like that is too much work. You have to be so precise, you have to know so much about the joints and the muscle. But before we talk about joints and muscle let us go to the beginning.
When I first saw Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon I walked out and knew I had seen what I really wanted to become. And then, after coming to America, the USA, I started doing all this crazy training to catch up, to be as good as him. In only one year I had managed to destroy my entire body. I destroyed every joint in my body. I went to I don't know how many chiropractors, and doctors. They all gave me the same assessment. "You wore out every muscle, every joint in your body." And that was after only 1 year.
You see, back then I was on my own. I didn't have anybody to hold me back, so I just went for it; training intensely day in and day out. Nobody held me back. Now since learning that lesson on my own I do everything I can to make sure my students don't get hurt like I did. I will tell them, don't over do it. But of course if they keep going with very hard and very heavy training I simply tell them, "Okay maybe not now but sooner or later you are going to regret it. It is up to you, you are an adult but I tell you, you cannot be pushing so much for so long on physical arts."
I understand now that at that point I believed in ankle weights as an effective and viable training tool but also, I did not know yet or understand yet how to use them. I didn't know what I should do with them. I hadn't yet developed the science behind the use of ankle weights; but now we have it.
One day I remember, I was training with these guys who were already Gold Medalists or were training to compete in the Olympics. Watching them and moving around with them it was easy to see that they were faster than me. Their kicks were faster, but I was stronger. After witnessing their speed I spent 3 days kicking with two and one-half pound ankle weights on. In those three days I changed my kicks to be just as fast. I did that, I changed that in just three days. The next time I went there I was kicking as fast as or faster than any other student I might confront over there.
That same dedication, that same process, I did it with my punches, throwing punches for 3 days. I trained everything in that same way. That year, it destroyed me. I was over-training my body. I was over-doing it.
After taking the days, weeks, months to heal from that overly intense training year; going through the proper process, listening to my body, I would make the realization. I would go back and start listening to my body. I said to myself, "Wait a minute, I am doing too much to the muscle, now I know how I can do it, this is how it follows."
This is what I did to be able to put 120 - 130 (I believe I can do 140) pounds on each leg without getting hurt. This is not a thing that any one can try. If an injury happens doing that, especially with that massive weight it is the kind of injury that will cost you many many years to heal if you are lucky and it doesn't end your career because this is VERY dangerous.
But yes, probably everybody has read about the history about how we have gotten here, how we have come up from so far and made such progress. All of it has progressed to this point based on science. By going slowly. Don't go and try to get a split in one day, something like that, it takes time. But then again, it is not just time that determines the progress, there are plenty of people working for 10 to 15 years trying to get a split but can never get there because their process is flawed and ends in stagnation.
If you come to me for 6 months and you follow the system closely, my program, it does not matter how tight you are. I can get you into primarily a Japanese split and a Russian split and it doesn't take too long, especially if you are under the age of 30.
Even if you give me a guy over 90 years old, as long as he doesn't have a terminal illness I can have that guy completely raised, I can have that guy build every muscle. I can do that because I have done it. I have done it and I have done it even with people that are sick. One of them, John Ryan from a neighboring town. He had an illness and I brought him from being already 3 or 4 inches hunched over, I brought him to be straight. One of our more widely recognized trainers, Alex Sascha, from Russia trains very hard and demands a lot from his students and is not afraid to push them far beyond their limit; but within 6 months I had John Ryan go from being ill and hunched over to being capable of taking a class with Sascha.
So the facts is that there are many ways that I can help people. I can help them one-on-one and train them in person or I can custom train someone through focused instructional videos. For example, people with love handles I can give them videos of 4 or 5 exercises to take home, watch, learn and perform them on their own. Someone else says, "Calasanz I want to get a split." So we start from the very beginning and I give the first video, then the second, the third, the fourth. By the time you have 10 videos, or whatever, in 10 months you will have the split WITHOUT getting hurt.
But what makes us unique is our approach. Again, it is scientific, it is based on logic. Many don't realize its important to train strength AND flexibility. You will not achieve the same results training just flexibility without the strength or vice versa, you cannot be doing just strength without the flexibility. If you do too much strength then you just get tight. So it is a combination of many different aspects being put to work with our system under science. The science means you have to follow certain processes.
It's like a pressure point. With a pressure point you have a circle, then you press for example in the middle, go 45 degree angle up, 45 left, right and so on. You go pressing all the different points, that is how pressure points work. Death Touch for example is the same way. If you want to deliver that shot to a person you have to deliver it specifically to that pressure point. That Death Touch or impact must be 100% precise, it has to be performed exactly the way its supposed to be done, otherwise it doesn't work. It's just like doing a bong shou or a tan shou. One little bit off means your center line or your chi is not applicable, it is not a proper representation or expression of the concept, or of the structure. And the same dedication, precision and focused attention are necessary in order to train and accomplish something like that split... especially after knowing how muscle can become frail.
I experienced first hand how tender muscle can be when I was a little bit younger. I would do a lot of pounding, stomping on concrete. I was pounding one day from 4 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. Pounding, pounding with 10 pounds on each leg. In each class that I taught I would be pounding more than the students I was training. I remember my last student that day, his name was John Winking. I am teaching this young guy, 22 years old, and I am pounding and pounding. The muscle over the course of that day got so warm... its like taking a wire and you twist it, twisting, twisting, twisting. It gets warm and then it will break. That is what happened to me. I over did it and my calf exploded, but again, over time I would fix it.
After that happened I knew what I was supposed to do with the tendon. And that was when I started combining strength and flexibility training simultaneously into my exercises. Before that I had the flexibility, but I did not have the strength necessary to manage that flexibility. Now we have both. But that is a perfect example. The explosion of my calf, I've never seen something like it before. My calf exploded such that it swelled to probably 5 times bigger. But I knew exactly at that point what I had done, that I had overworked it.
Some of our students they pick up on that very quickly. These pupils have an understanding of what they are doing and the meaning behind Physical Art. They can understand the meaning.
(I asked him then...)
How long did it take you to develop to the point to accomplish the ability to do a split like that with so much weight?
"I would say that to get to that point, if I wasn't working and could completely devote myself to that... I could have reached something like that in 4 years or less. But working, having to rest, having to be careful.. it can take someone up to 10 years to develop up to that. You see, if you push too hard trying to get it faster, faster, faster you are going to burn out or get injured. You will be healing for 2 years doing nothing. Nothing you can do for 2 years or more, that is a big set back. This is the science behind it. It takes 10 years or maybe more but just because I work, and sometimes I am so sore and burned out from doing something like that... Just understand, that when I did that it took me around 5 weeks to just come back and be able to do it again because the muscle is so internally, and the last thing you want is to go and pull that muscle, that going in cold or without developing you are going to get hurt. So, I would say not working, just doing that, doing a camp or something dedicated, someone working like that trying to accomplish it and safely can probably do it in 2 years. But again, working teaching on top of attempting that accomplishment it takes longer. It's like me trying to do this fight. I could have done this fight in 1990 but I couldn't because I had too many problems in other areas; so now I am building what I need to do to do that fight slowly... But I would love that I wouldn't have to do that, that I could have enough sponsorship that.... I did have enough sponsorship back then but again, too many problems so I have to go slowly, building. It might even take me another 10 years before I say, 'I am ready.'"
Transcribed from an audio recording of Calasanz
Provided by: Calasanz
Transcribed and Developed by: Alan Wedell